Cramping isnt something thats seen to much nowadays with running dogs due to better knowledge of what a dog needs and on the whole a much better quality of complete diet menu and the subsequent ingredients of said diets.However heavily greyhound saturated lurchers may be more prone to it and Border Terriers are known to suffer from Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome.A cramp is an involuntary prolonged spasm of a muscle or group of muscles, and as we all now these can be very painfull and its no different for our dogs.In a racing greyhound cramping is usually seen on the last bend and in working dogs after a couple of turns after quarry, so this could be because of the extra effort needed to execute a successfull turn , some dogs get it on a hot day due to dehydration and some get it in the area of an old injury that hasnt repaired to its previous condition, but whatever once you have witnessed your dog cramping massage is a must.However be carefull as often even the most trustworthy of dogs don’t like you touching the cramped area as it is extremely sensitive and painfull.
How do we know when the dog has a cramp?
Well a lot of dogs pull up and lift a leg up, some will fall on the floor howling, but reall every dog is different
There are different types of cramp but what causes cramps?
Well usually they are caused by anyone or more of the following
Dehydration(lack of water)
Lactic Acid build up
Poor oxygenation of the muscle
To much protein with lack of calcium if not enough exercise being given
And the above mentioned C.E.C.S
Why must we massage the dog?
Well let me tell you
It increases the bloodflow to the affected area and therefore increasing the oxygenation to that area also.The increased circulation also helps drain the muscle of the built up Lactic Acid and the act of the massage streches and lengthens the affected muscle and or muscle group, which in turn spreads the actual area of pain and reduces the intensity of that pain.
If your dog suffers from cramp it is neccessary to see a vet as there may be another problem or clinical massage may be neccessary as this is an effective method of releasing the spasm that causes the cramp but this should only be undertaken by an expert.
DEHYDRATION:The best way to prevent dehydration is to give plenty of access to clean fresh water, and before and after exercise /work administer electrolytes
CALCIUM DEFFICIENCY CRAMP:Is the most common in working dogs because people feed high protein yet dont give the dogs enough exercise through the week, the best way to combat this is to give a calcium supplement and gluconate, or feed a lower protien .
CIRCULATORY CRAMP:Normally happens for a few days after a knock and is the result of the small arteries supplying the muscles having a spasm.If this persists then you would use a peripheral vasodilator .Vasodilation means the widening of the blood vessels from the relaxation of the smooth muscles cells within the walls of the blood vessels, especially the large viens and the large arteries.This allows the blood to get to the damaged area much more easily flushing the area and oxygenating it.Vitamin E and an anti histamine can help with this.
METABOLIC CRAMP:This is very hard to explain and is diagnised from urine samples, so this isnt really the place to get into that.
All of these can be aided in recovery and prevention from products that are easily available on the market such as Tye Gard or Neutradex.
Another thing to remember is that ALL athletes warm up, so if you are of lamping say, try and make sure that you have a very brisk walk for ten mins upon arrival before you enter the fields just to get the muscles warmed up the joints all loosened etc, instead of enter the field and slip, Don’t forget the warm down either, and on arrival back to the vehicle a good brisk rub down, then put a coat on the dog and administer your electrolytes, only removing the coat upon arrival at home.Your dog may never suffer cramps and you think why bother, but non of this takes any longer than an extra ten minutes in the day, and remember what our old nans used to tell us “Prevention is better than cure”
Countrymans Weekly 25/05/11
General discussion, Health issues, Equipment, Accessories ect... Dates for the BBF dog days at Area51 are announced here too!
2 posts • Page 1 of 1